#2 – January, the brainteaser month

Like on every other Wednesday, we prepared some extra activities for the IPC students to give them an alternative to mundane afternoon inside the room with a mobile phone in their hand. We wanted it to be good fun but in the same time something involving thinking out of the box. The fact that January was the brain teasers month made the whole thing much easier. After all, who doesn’t like a good riddle?! Brain teasers are an excellent way to keep our minds sharp and focused. Many teachers have their students practice them in class, but have you done many as an adult? 

Brainteaser day

Students working hard on solving tests and puzzles

Brain teasers, brain teasers… but what is it exactly?

A brain teaser is a form of a puzzle or riddle typically designed to be solved for amusement. It often requires thinking in unconventional ways with given constraints in mind. Sometimes it also involves lateral thinking. Some brain teasers are easy, some are a little harder, and some can really make you ponder for a while. Often, when you finally hear the answer, you think “wow, right. That’s so obvious! Why haven’t I thought of it?! Therefore, we keep testing ourselves and hoping we get better at solving them. Logic puzzles and riddles are specific types of brain teasers. One of the earliest known brain teaser enthusiasts was the Greek mathematician Archimedes. He would devise and give out mathematical problems for his contemporaries to solve as best they could.

What are the benefits of brain teasers?

Based on recent research, demonstrating that our brains do better in the long term if they are exposed to novel activities including brain teasers, brain games and logic puzzles here are some of the associated benefits:

  •  Boosts brain activity
  •  Provides emotional satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
  • Enhances memory and processing speed
  • Helps slow the decline and reduce the risk for dementia
  • Improves concentration
  • Reduces boredom

Among the things we prepared were crosswords, Sudoku, word searches, mazes, IQ Mensa tests, games stimulating memory, optical illusions and last but not least the box with riddles. Each of the students, if courageous enough, could check the power of his/her brain and win a free drink for giving us the right answer by the time the drink of their choice was ready. Some of them won, some did not but everyone had lots of fun and that is the most important thing.

Below you will find few examples of the riddles from our box. Are you able to solve them?

  1. What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?
  2. A doctor and a bus driver are both in love with the same woman, an attractive girl named Sarah. The bus driver had to go on a long bus trip that would last a week. Before he left, he gave Sarah seven apples. Why?
  3. Tall I am young, short I am old, while with life I glow, wind is my foe. What am I?
  4. What has many keys, but can’t even open a single door?
  5. What has six faces, but does not wear makeup. It also has twenty-one eyes, but cannot see?
  6. There are 20 people in an empty, square room. Each person has full sight of the entire room and everyone in it without turning his head or body, or moving in any way (other than the eyes). Where can you place an apple so that all but one person can see it?
  7. David’s father has three sons: Snap, Crackle and _____?
  8. Two fathers and two sons went fishing one day. They were there the whole day and only caught 3 fish. One father said, that is enough for all of us, we will have one each. How can this be possible?

Magdalena – 2018 Spring term volunteer